The Heisman: Your Prediction?

Three candidates, and I wonder which one you think will win:

Who will win? Who should win?

1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, Fr.

Season (12 games): 273-of-400 passing for 3,419 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions; 184 rushes for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Watchman’s take: Detractors will look at Manziel’s 1-2 record in the Aggies’ three biggest games of the year, against Florida, LSU and Alabama. But take a closer look at the numbers: Manziel averaged 293.7 yards of total offense against those three teams, who all finished the season in the top 10 in total defense. His upset of the top-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa will be remembered as the defining moment of his Heisman campaign, and it was also the moment when SEC fans began taking A&M seriously. Adrian Peterson’s 2004 Heisman finalist run was the most successful by a freshman to date, as the Oklahoma running back garnered 997 votes to finish second behind USC’s Matt Leinart. Manziel should have little trouble breaking that barrier.

Heisman moment of the year: Manziel’s first-quarter touchdown versus Alabama gave the Aggies a 14-0 lead and displayed the freshman’s improvisational skills.

2. LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, Sr.

Season (12 games): 103 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, seven interceptions, four pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.

Watchman’s take: For any player, picking off seven passes in a season is a noteworthy accomplishment. And among Te’o supporters, a favorite argument is that the senior has great leadership qualities both on and off the field. Te’o famously learned the name of every walk-on on the Irish roster in order to cultivate an atmosphere of unity, and his ability to play through adversity cemented him as a fan favorite. Ultimately, though, Te’o’s status as a defensive player was the biggest anchor to his candidacy, as the Heisman race has never produced a winner who played exclusively on defense. Manziel will have an easier time beating the freshman barrier than Te’o will overcoming the defense-only barrier.

Heisman moment of the year: Te’o’s late interception of Oklahoma’s Landry Jones cemented Notre Dame’s win over the Sooners and helped the Irish remain unbeaten.

3. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State, Sr.

Last week: 8-of-14 for 184 yards, one touchdown and one interception; 23 rushes for 103 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-24 win over Texas.

Season (12 games): 180-of-272 passing for 2,490 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions; 194 rushes for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Watchman’s take: The Heisman was Klein’s to lose before the walls came crumbling down with No.1 Kansas State’s crushing loss to Baylor on Nov. 11. Klein was the only one of the Watchman’s top three candidates to play on Championship Weekend, but his three-touchdown outing against Texas didn’t inject enough life into his deflated candidacy. Overall, Manziel had better late-season luck but also bested Klein on the stat sheet: The freshman scored six more total touchdowns and recorded just more than 1,200 more yards of total offense on the season.

Heisman moment of the year: One week before losing to Baylor, Klein’s 34-yard touchdown run against TCU helped Kansas State stay unbeaten at 10-0. It also got Gus Johnson’s attention.

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.whateverisgood.blogspot.com Wes Ellis

    I like Johnny Manziel for it. I’d love to see Te’o take it, but as a defensive man that’s a long shot. I’ve gotta say, the stats are overwhelmingly in Manziel’s favor. If he doesn’t win it, it will only be because he’s a Freshman.

  • http://differentcloth.blogspot.com Jeff Stewart

    As much as I’m pulling for Klein, he’s not the darling that Johnny Football is to the nation. Klein matched stats of 3 other winners not just once, but twice. I think they’ll give the prize to the first Freshman winner.

  • Steve Ratliff

    I think Klein deserves the Heisman, but I think Manziel is going to get it.

  • SuperStar

    Te’o has earned it and should get it. Johnny Football has a few more years to get it.

  • JoeyS

    Te’o deserves it but I doubt he’ll get it.

  • John

    Has a freshman ever won the HT?

    I think McCarron should have been a finalist. Season QB rating of 170+

    Johnny Football’s QB rank is something like 15th.

  • Karl

    The only reason Manziel would not get the Heisman is b/c he’s a freshman and a freshman has never won it and some people won’t vote for him simply on those grounds, IMO. That’s not a sufficient reason. He has better stats than Tim Tebow or Cam Newton had in their Heisman-winning seasons and has led Texas A&M to far greater success in its first season in the SEC than anybody ever expected. Their only losses were close ones to highly ranked Florida and LSU, and they beat Alabama at Alabama. See Missouri to get an idea of where A&M would be minus Manziel in the SEC.

  • Kenton

    Is Michael Kruse going to chime in?

    This Longhorn regrets that it’s true, but I think Manziel will win it, I hope Klein ends up with it though.

  • T. Webb

    Another vote for Te’o, the best player in football who has willed his team to the national title game, but the Heisman is essentially for flashy offensive players, so Johnny Football will win, despite hist performance against LSU being the worst game performance in history by a a Heisman winner in the year they won it.

  • Grizzly

    Read first the award charter then you decide: The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country. Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted. All assets of the Trust beyond the expense of maintaining the annual presentation of the Heisman Memorial Trophy are reserved for such charitable causes. The Trustees, who all serve pro bono, are guided by a devotion to college football and are committed to community service and the valued tradition which the Trophy represents.

  • Grizzly

    Maika’I Pomaika’I Manti Te’o, regardless character, integrity and leadership still matter… mahalo nui loa e malama pono, see you on Sunday !


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